The "Layers of Life" interactive from the fantastic folks at National Geographic offers a detailed, informative tour of the Gulf of Mexico's ecosystems, the organisms that thrive there, and the conditions that need to be maintained for the health of this environment. This interactive has layers of information that can be clicked through easily. The small navigational square in the bottom left corner allows you to click through the different zones of the ecosystem with ease.
tag(s): biomes (113), diversity (32), environment (218), oil (26), oil spill (15), water (96)
In the Classroom
To teach about the zones of the ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico, have students form four groups and create a summary of the features and creatures of that zone. This will reduce the time necessary to share all of the information in class. Turn the activity into a jigsaw by having the student teams number themselves and form new groups of numbers so that all information is shared to all students. While students are sharing information, post questions about the oil spill impact on the ecosystem. Examples would be "Why would oil being introduced into this unique zone of the ecosystem cause a problem for organisms that live in this area?" or "How could the oil from the spill cause a chain reaction for biotic and abiotic components of the environment?" Encourage students to discuss within their groups the questions and then have discussion with the whole class where the groups share ideas. Create a class wiki to discuss the questions and answers. Learn more about wikis at the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.